Grieving Marijan Cabraja leaves Lee Johnson with tough decision ahead of Rangers clash - with Martin Boyle a possible starter

Hibs manager Lee Johnson will leave it late before deciding whether to include Marijan Cabraja in his team for Saturday’s head to head with Rangers.

The Croatian full-back missed out on training this week as he returned home for his father’s funeral and his gaffer is now waiting to see if he will be back in Scotland in time for the league meeting with Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s men at Easter Road and whether he is in the right frame of mind.

“Bless him, Marijan’s father passed away so obviously our well wishes go out to the whole family,” said Johnson. “We're looking forward to inviting him back into the Hibs family to give him a little bit of love and care. It's been a difficult moment.”

The funeral took place on Thursday and while the 25 year-old made it clear that he intends to be available for selection, Johnson says he has a tough choice to make.

“He hasn't trained this week but he wants to play. That's massive credit to him but that decision will be down to me.

“It's a difficult one. Everybody's different in terms of the grieving time they need. Some cultures are different as well. Potentially he could be on a flight on Friday morning and back but you've got to see what state he's in both mentally and emotionally, as well as physically in terms of the time he's missed training.

“It's a tough one as a manager. No-one teaches you those types of things on the Pro Licence. You've just got to be human about it and try to read the individual and see how he is, try and provide that bit of love, care and support that anybody would need in that situation.”

While there are still a number of injuries to absorb, Josh Campbell and Rocky Bushiri are both expected to be back, while Johnson is weighing up the possibility of giving Martin Boyle his first starting berth since his return from Saudi Arabia.

Hibs Croatian full-back Marijan Cabraja has been back to his homeland for a family funeral. Photo by Mark Scates / SNS Group

“As we build our squad there's no way we're going to be able to peak this early, “ added Johnson. “That doesn't mean the performances can't be aggressive, on the front foot and strong. The team selection on Saturday will be really, really positive as we take the game to Rangers.”

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